More than a year after Blizzard did an Old Yeller to Heroes of the Storm—"the only good MOBA" in the eyes of our weekend editor Jody Macgregor—a new patch has appeared on the public test realm, and it's got some fans hopeful for more to come.
The patch is a beefy one, but entirely a fixer-upper: There are some UI changes, a handful of balance tweaks, and a big pile of bug fixes. Blizzard thanked players "for providing insight and feedback for these changes," and asked that anyone who runs into a bug during PTR testing report them on the appropriate forum.
The new update is in keeping with what Blizzard committed to when it formally ended Heroes of the Storm development. "Moving forward we will support Heroes in a manner similar to our other longstanding games, StarCraft and StarCraft II", it said at the time. "In the future, we'll continue seasonal rolls and hero rotations, and while the in-game shop will remain operational there are no plans for new for-purchase content to be added. Future patches will primarily focus on client sustainability and bug fixing, with balance updates coming as needed."
Despite that, there is hope born anew amongst the diehard fanbase, fuelled not just by the surprise arrival of a new patch but also Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has previously expressed enthusiasm for reviving some of the company's old classics, and there's hope that Heroes of the Storm will be among them.
"I hope they peep over to [StarCraft 2] and realize Blizz nerds are a hardy bunch and can survive content droughts and flourish with a drop of content," redditor fourtyonexx wrote. "Also give us arcade mode wtf, HotS runs off of the SC2 engine, so it’s easy to just give us arcade mode smhhhhh."
"I hope they are like 'League of Legends, Dota2....we have our own MOBA too, lets start that back up'," GrumpyKitten514 added. "HOTS is/was one of my favorite games to play. I might just reinstall it."
Similar sentiments are being shared on Blizzard's own Heroes of the Storm forums. "That’s A LOT of fixes for a game that’s in maintenance mode," Ephemiel wrote. "It’s absolutely getting re-launched somewhere, perhaps Steam since they already added Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4."
And of course there's a meme:
Now, I don't want to be the guy to crush a dream, and anything is possible, especially with Microsoft now calling the shots. But I think it's a very long shot indeed: Heroes of the Storm fans are obviously dedicated but they're also, with all due respect, small in number—and as GrumpyKitten514 indirectly noted, the MOBA genre is already dominated by LoL and Dota. There's very little space for Heroes of the Storm to muscle into, even if active development resumed. So, could Heroes of the Storm suddenly spring back to full and vigorous life? Sure, absolutely. But will it? Sorry to say, folk, but no, I don't think so.
The full Heroes of the Storm patch notes are up at blizzard.com.
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Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.